Quinceanera Church Ceremony
The quinceanera tradition dates back more than 600 years when the Aztec and Maya cultures celebrated the time when a young girl became eligible to marry, have children, and take on the responsibilities of women in the community. Eventually the Spaniards influenced the event and a deeply Catholic connection emerged. There is always a question about the appropriateness of skipping the church ceremony and having only the quinceanera reception. Although traditionalists will tell you that the quinceanera should never be celebrated without the church ceremony, the quinceanera is not a sacrament of the church. In some countries, the quinceanera doesn't include a church ceremony. While it is still a very important part of the quinceanera for many latino families, it is acceptable to have a quinceanera reception only. Even non-Catholic churches have started to adapt the quinceanera liturgy to the meet the needs of their church doctrine.
So if you don't attend a Catholic church, or don't want to have a church ceremony for some other reason, you can still have a fabulous quinceanera party. The fact remains that the church ceremony covers a very important part of the quinceanera. The church ceremony provides an opportunity for the quinceanera's priest or minister to talk with her about the growing responsibilities she has as a woman of faith. The ceremony helps remind her of her devotion to God and includes a rededication of her baptismal vows.
The traditional gifts presented to the quinceanera by her parents and padrinos at her church ceremony hold religious symbolism. The tiara placed on her head signifies her standing as a princess in the eyes of God. The quinceanera earrings remind her to listen to God's word. The quinceanera bracelet represents the unbroken nature of God's love; it is unceasing. The scepter represents her receiving the responsibilities of being a woman. She also receives a patron saint medal, rosary, or quinceanera Bible to remind her of her foundation in faith. These items are her tools for navigating through life as a woman of faith.
You can find a listing of the church ceremony components and more details about the quinceanera church ceremony in Planning the Perfect Quinceanera.